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published: 21/7/2014
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BRE Chief Executive launches public sector food procurement plan

A Government initiative led by BRE Chief Executive Dr Peter Bonfield* which provides a framework for the improved public procurement of food will be launched by Prime Minister David Cameron and new Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss today

Report CoverThe Plan for Public Procurement has involved working with farmers, food producers, campaigners and buyers to create a balanced scorecard approach to food procurement that addresses better value across a number of significant social, economic and environmental factors like health and wellbeing, waste reduction, fair and ethical trade, quality and cost.

The plan aims to drive for more food and drink from local farms to be served in all schools, hospitals and canteens right across the public sector.

Launching the report, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Our long-term economic plan is all about backing the do-ers and the hard-workers – and no one does more or works as hard in Britain today than our farmers. By opening up these contracts, we can help them create more jobs, invest in their businesses and make sure people in our country have a healthier lifestyle.

“It’s a triple win – and will mean a brighter future for our country.”

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:

“This move will mean that food served in canteens across the public sector can be more local, seasonal and tastier.

“It will help drive growth in Britain’s first class food and drink industry and benefit the environment through reduced waste, higher take-up of meals and less unappetising food left on plates.

“This is a huge boost to British farmers and producers and for students, patients and employees who want to enjoy fantastic food.”

The move could see the British food and drink industry benefit from business worth £400 million.  It is also helps support a changing approach to food with greater consumer demand for seasonal, healthy and locally sourced foods.

As part of the plan the Prime Minister has committed the whole of central government to buying healthy, locally produced food by 2017 and called on schools and hospitals across the country to serve locally sourced food and drink.

Dr Bonfield said ‘With the Plan for Public Procurement I’ve been able to bring my own knowledge from working on the London 2012  Olympic build programme and BRE’s significant experience with sustainability standard BREEAM to bear on the project, both of which adopt a systematic approach to construction and procurement that addresses better value across a number of significant social, economic and environmental factors for the best possible outcomes. by creating the right environment and giving organisations the right tools, small businesses will be able to sell nutritious, top quality food to the public sector market. This is the right approach for our health, our environment and also British businesses’

A key part of the plan will be to make it easier for small businesses to sell food to government by:

  • Ensuring public sector organisations such as schools and hospitals have access to a single guidance document about how to buy in food - currently there are a myriad of approaches differing from one organisation to the next;
  • creating a new online market place so small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and public sector procurers can more easily connect with each other;
  • introducing a  new scorecard so procurers can consider a wider range of quality factors including taste, location and nutrition, alongside cost.

NFU Deputy President Minette Batters described the blueprint as ‘a significant step in the right direction’.

“We applaud the work that Dr Peter Bonfield has done to develop a new architecture for public sector procurement that aims to put more British food on public sector plates,” she said.

Read the Government press release in full and download a copy of A Plan for Procurement from the Defra website.

The Balanced Scorecard document is also available


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Note to editors

*The appointment follows on from similar roles Dr Bonfield has successfully delivered on for the Olympic Delivery Authority (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/olympic-delivery-authority) where he led on construction products procurement, and more recently for the Grown in Britain initiative (www.growninbritain.org) which kick started new market opportunities and a sustainable future for the UK’s forests and woodlands


Press enquries: Peter White, BRE Press Office. T 0333 321 8811  E whitep@bre.co.uk

Related news:

Environment Secretary appoints Peter Bonfield to lead on food procurement initiative

Way forward for forests and woodland is announced

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